'Fleet Foxes' Tops Listeners' Music Poll For the past few weeks, listeners have been voting for the best albums of 2008 in the All Songs Considered online poll. Bob Boilen talks about the year in music and the poll's final results, singling out music from Bob Dylan, She & Him, Girl Talk and this year's top album from Fleet Foxes.

'Fleet Foxes' Tops Listeners' Music Poll

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This is All Things Considered from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.


And I'm Michele Norris.

(Soundbite of song "Ragged Wood")

NORRIS: That song you're hearing is called "Ragged Wood." It's from Fleet Foxes' self-titled album. And that CD was voted the best album of 2008 by NPR listeners. The voting was part of the online poll from All Songs Considered. Last week, Bob Boilen, host of NPR's All Songs Considered, previewed some of the albums that people were voting on. And now he's back to talk about the results. Welcome back, Bob.

BOB BOILEN: Thank you.

NORRIS: Now, you have to remind us. Tell us about Fleet Foxes.

BOILEN: Fleet Foxes, a band from Seattle, very vocal-based. And this record was a debut record for them, and it just was sensational.

NORRIS: Why do you like it so much? You seem excited about the results of the poll.

BOILEN: I'm excited about this, because it's a fantastic record. It's gorgeous. And you can tell from their song writing, they are a group that has a huge future, that this is just their beginning.

(Soundbite of song "Ragged Wood")

FLEET FOXES: (Singing) You should come back home, back to your home now.

NORRIS: That's "Ragged Wood" from Fleet Foxes. What else do you have on the list?

BOILEN: Well, here's one. There's a guy - his name is Greg Gillis - and he doesn't make music so much as he takes other people's music and cuts them up. His group, he calls it Girl Talk, is nothing but a bunch of samples. Maybe we can listen to a bit of this song called "In step," and you can listen and you can see if you recognize any of these.

(Soundbite of song "In step")

Mr. ROY ORBISON: (Singing) Anything you want, you got it. Anything you need, you got it. Anything at all, you got it. Baby.

NORRIS: So, are there any vocals in here that are original, or is the whole thing taken from other music?

BOILEN: Nothing. Everything...

NORRIS: All of it.

BOILEN: The CD is about 300 samples. And what's cool about what he does is, you know, that's Roy Orbison. He takes music from, on this cut, Nirvana is coming up. There's music from Michael Jackson. There's music from Kraftwerk. It's a great appropriation of pop music.

(Soundbite of song "In Step")

SALT 'N' PEPA: (Singing) Salt and Pepa's here, and we're in effect. Want you to push it, babe. Coolin' by day then at night working up a sweat. C'mon girls, let's go show the guys that we know how to become number one in a hot party show. Now push it.

NORRIS: So we're talking about the results. Who's actually doing the voting?

BOILEN: The people who are All Songs listeners are fans that are young and they're old. They go from 15 to 60, pretty much even across the board. But what's cool about the younger people is that they have an understanding of older peoples' music as well as those older people, and that's thanks to the Internet. They know music from the '50s, '60s, and '70s and '80s and '90s and the current music. They're the most educated bunch of music listeners I've ever seen and heard.

NORRIS: So that might explain why some of this music is both innovative and retrospective at the same time. We've talked about this. It sounds like we heard that in Fleet Foxes and also in Girl Talk. And do we see that elsewhere on the list?

BOILEN: Well, listen to the next one which is from two folks known as She & Him, M. Ward and Zooey Deschanel. M. Ward is a musician, Zooey Deschanel, a singer, and also known to many as an actress.

NORRIS: Yes, an actress who was in the film "Alf." "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy." Films like "Failure to Launch."

BOILEN: And their music, you can hear, is based in music from the '50s and '60s girl groups, Smokey Robinson & The Miracles kind of sound. Anyway, give them a listen.

NORRIS: Yeah, I want to hear that.

(Soundbite of song "I Was Made For You")

SHE & HIM: (Singing) I was taking a walk when I saw you pass by. I thought I saw you looking my way, so I thought I'd give you a try. When I saw you smile, I saw a dream come true. So I asked you, maybe, baby, what you gonna do? 'Cause I have been waiting for a long, long time, For a boy like you. I won't be waiting any more 'cause I know.

NORRIS: Bob, you noted that the listeners range in age from 15 to 60. Any idea what the older people in the poll might be voting for?

BOILEN: Well, one thing that was a quirk that made it onto the charts was a Dylan album of songs that was never issued.

NORRIS: Bob Dylan?

BOILEN: Bob Dylan. And it did very well. And it wouldn't have done well just because 50- and 60-year-olds voted for it, because there were way too many thousands of people who voted in the poll. It needed everybody's support to make it as high as it did. And this song, "Mississippi," is just absolutely flat-out amazing.

NORRIS: If a song is absolutely flat-out amazing, we gotta to listen to it.

BOILEN: OK. And it's simple as could be. It's just Bob Dylan and his guitar. Can't go wrong.

(Soundbite of song "Mississippi")

BOB DYLAN: (Singing) Every step of the way, we walk the line. Your days are numbered, so are mine. Time is piling up, We struggle and we stray. All boxed in, nowhere to escape.

NORRIS: Thanks, Bob.

BOILEN: Thanks, Michele.

NORRIS: Bob Boilen is host of NPR's online music show, All Songs Considered. Tomorrow at 2 p.m. Eastern, Bob hosts an online chat about the poll. You can participate and you can hear music from the top CDs of 2008. That's at nprmusic.org.

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